Verio rounds out IPv6 offerings

* Verio puts its IPv6 services in line with its IPv4 offering

Verio, the only ISP actively marketing commercial IPv6 services in the U.S., has announced several features that are designed to make its next-generation IPv6 services on par with its IPv4 services.

Verio unveiled the new features at the North American IPv6 Summit held in Santa Monica, Calif. earlier this month. 

IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to IPv4, the Internet's main communications protocol. Developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, IPv6 promises easier administration, tighter security and an enhanced addressing scheme over IPv4, the Internet's current protocol. IPv6, which uses a 128-bit addressing scheme, supports a virtually limitless number of uniquely identified systems on the 'Net, while IPv4 supports only a few billion systems because it uses a 32-bit addressing scheme.

"We're trying to take all the features that we currently offer customers in IPv4 and offer them in IPv6 as well," explains Stan Berber, vice president of engineering operations at NTT's Verio subsidiary. "That has been a challenge because not all of the features that we see in IPv4 have been implemented by the router manufacturers in IPv6."

Verio's new IPv6 services, which are available immediately, include:

* Managed router service that provides support for customers' IPv6-enabled devices.

* Support for multiple T-1 connections, a service dubbed NxT1.

* Shadow Service backup for added redundancy.

* Support for frame relay as part of its IPv6 Gateway Services.

All of these new IPv6 features are available for native IPv6 service, dual-stack IPv6 service or IPv6 tunneling over IPv4. Verio is offering these IPv6 enhancements in every market where the company does business worldwide.

Verio officials are hoping these enhancements will help boost IPv6 sales.

"It is slow. We don't have people who are buying IPv6 in droves," Berber admits.  "Our customer base consists of software vendors trying to adapt their applications to work in the V6 space. That's an important set of customers. Academia is important, too, and some government customers."

One customer of Verio's IPv6 service is Juniper Networks, which sells IPv6-enabled routers. Kim Perdikou, CIO of Juniper, said in a statement that she is pleased with Verio's IPv6 solution. "Apart from the highly reliable and cost-effective service, the NTT/Verio IPv4/v6 Dual Service gives us both IPv4 and native IPv6 connectivity," she said.

In other news, Verio demonstrated a prototype key management product for IPv6 at the North American IPv6 Summit. Called M-2-MX, the application allows for peer-to-peer dynamic IPSec tunnels over IPv6. Verio officials said they hope to offer commercial M-2-MX services next year.

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